Total Said to Consider Sale of Stake in Norway Oil and Gas Field

  • Co. seeking to sell down 51% stake in Martin Linge Field
  • Total’s stake in development field is worth about $1 billion

Total SA is considering selling down its 51 percent stake in an offshore oil and gas field in Norway’s North Sea, people familiar with the matter said, as the French oil giant disposes of assets to offset a slump in crude prices.

The company is working with financial advisers to sell a portion of its stake in the Martin Linge field, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The 51 percent holding is worth about $1 billion, and Total is also offering some smaller producing assets to potential buyers as part of the deal, the people said. No final decisions have been taken, and Total may also decide against a sale, the people said.

More than two years into the oil slump, major producers and their suppliers remain under pressure to cut costs and increase cash flow. Total, whose profit fell 30 percent in the second quarter, plans to cut costs by more than $3 billion by 2017 compared with 2014. The company is also in talks to sell its specialty chemicals division Atotech.

The Martin Linge field, named after the namesake Norwegian actor and sailor, is scheduled for first production in 2018. Total is the field’s operator, while the remaining stake is held by Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest company, and state-owned Petoro AS.

A spokesman for Total declined to comment.

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